Plaid, Scintilli

Ian Gittins

By Ian Gittins

on 09.26.11 in Reviews

[Ed. Note: The revered electronic duo Plaid have collaborated with Bjork on multiple occasions: she wrote and sang the song "Lilith" from their 1997 album Not For Threes, for example.]

Essentially Plaid business as usual

The London electronic duo of Andy Turner and Ed Handley originally intended to put out Scintilli (a Latin word that translates as “I am many sparks”) as long ago as 2008 before succumbing to an orgy of tweaking, honing and re-imagining: They proudly boast that every beat on the record took a day to construct. The CD version of the album is housed in a puzzle pack which allows the purchaser, should they be so inclined, to suspend the disk from two interlinked rings to create an “executive CD mausoleum”.

Yet put aside the obsessively painstaking creative process and the cosmically pretentious packaging, and what remains is essentially Plaid business as usual. This means meticulously intricate and yet deceptively simple-sounding webs of sound that mostly have a thrumming, twitchy electronic pulse at their core yet which wander with fervent promiscuity through virtually every other musical genre extant, from ambient folktronica (“Missing”) to stately dream-pop (“Craft Nine”) to the closing serrated glitch-symphony that is “At Last”. And when you can dance to them, as on dark-hued techno-throb “Unbank,” it is a bonus. Twenty years into their career, Plaid remain contemporary electronic composers sans pareil.